No great level of experience is required for walking the West Highland Way, and no high level of fitness either. If you can walk a Sunday walk in the hills of 15-30 km’s, you should be able to walk the West Highland Way. The first half of the West Highland Way is along the bottom of Glens, the edge of Loch Lomond, and gentle countryside, some of the most glorious walking country in scotland; bear in mind though you will be carrying your filled rucksack, unless you use a ruck sack carrying company – of which there are a few.
If you don’t have basic outdoor walking experience or knowledge, consider joining one of the many groups that are organized. Additionally there are companies that will carry your rucksack on to your next stop and some that will arrange your accommodation for the whole West Highland Way, (see links pages). It is a good idea in bad weather to let someone know when you will arrive at you next stop also take your mobile phone, (though the networks are patchy). On the second half of the trek it is advisable to have a compass, (and know how to use it), the weather in Scotland can change very quickly and the fog can fall causing trail finding to be considerably more difficult. However that is for the worst of conditions.
The West Highland Way is very well marked making it almost impossible to get lost, the way marks are generally brown wooden posts with the thistle at the top and a yellow arrow (yellow arrows are also used on the Camino de Santiago, Spain, a 750km walk). Also, except in winter, you will meet many other walkers who will normally help if you are experiencing any trouble.
How much time
How long is a bit of string? The time element is your choice. If you have two weeks there are a great number of Munros near the West Highland Way to add extra days to the West Highland Way. It is possible to walk the whole way in six days without a break,(hard going and little fun) however if you are not reasonably fit and don’t have some experience of this distance eight would be a better choice. For those who have some general walking experience seven days should be fine. But remember some days are easier than others.
Carry enough cash with you, there are few cash machines along the walk. Credit cards will be accepted in hotels and restaurants, but for B&Bs and carry out evening meals, campsites and hostels you will need cash. Beware – most of the cash machines in shops charge £1.75 for a withdrawal!
For camping budget £10-15 per day
Hostels £20 – 25 per day
B&B £35 – 50 per day
Hotels £75 – to whatever per day